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  • One day, I found myself at the top of a mountain,

  • one descent to go, one last chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.

  • I wasn't even old enough to walk into a PG-13 movie alone when my dream took roots,

  • yet there I stood, my three teammates by my side,

  • and facing the opportunity to make history.

  • My mind wandered, just for half a second,

  • but that half-second was filled with a lifetime of memories,

  • and two decisions that brought me here to the top of the mountain.

  • I made the first decision after a very challenging period in my career as an athlete,

  • five years of recurring injuries as a track athlete.

  • Five years, that's a long time to dedicate to anything.

  • But as much as I loved track, the injuries were slowly killing my drive and my dreams.

  • My injuries had me feeling like a failure at a sport that I was once great at.

  • The last of this series of injuries required major elbow surgery,

  • and as I sat on my couch, days out of surgery,

  • I thought of an old coach and mentor's words,

  • comparing me to a great bobsledder he once knew.

  • "Bobsled? No way!"

  • But after year upon year of not reaching the goals I set for myself in track,

  • it was time for a change.

  • So I reached out to the U.S. Olympic Committee, and they told me to start training.

  • Great! I was going to be a bobsledder. I didn't really know anything about it,

  • but the first decision had been made.

  • And there I was, in what felt like just a blink of an eye later,

  • about to push my four-man sled with my team

  • to the chance of Olympic gold, Olympic glory.

  • "Back set! Front set! Ready and -- "

  • the driver yelled, and off we went.

  • We dug as deep as we could, and as the cadence of our steps increased and the sled accelerated,

  • we left everything we had on the track, before leaving the ice

  • and boarding our Night Train sled.

  • And a calm came over me,

  • and once in the sled, as it was picking up speed,

  • for just another millisecond, my mind went back to that day on the couch.

  • "How can I train for the bobsled team without getting hurt over and over again like before?"

  • I had to look into the mirror and realize that I still wanted to compete.

  • I still wanted to succeed.

  • But I had to face the reality that my getting hurt wasn't to be blamed elsewhere.

  • I had to realize that if I had a problem, it was up to me to change it.

  • I had to confront that what I had been doing all this time

  • may not have been the best things for me.

  • I had to confront my reality and make a change,

  • and that was the second decision.

  • The decision in my mind not to get hurt anymore would have many layers,

  • but it mostly had to do with taking responsibility for all the variables in my life.

  • If I had thought something I would do or something I felt

  • would lead me to injury, then it most certainly would.

  • I would have to have a fundamental shift in mindset.

  • I learned to let go of the fears I had trained myself to have over the years

  • and simply decided to trust myself and my body

  • to push through situations I had thought insurmountable before.

  • What followed those five years of injuries

  • were nine years of not missing one race

  • I entered for the USA national and Olympic teams.

  • Because I made a decision, and then another one,

  • and held true to those two decisions,

  • I found myself back with my team approaching 90 miles per hour.

  • And as we came around the last corners, I could hear the crowd cheering

  • and the cowbells blaring, and a hard "You!" coming from the masses

  • as we passed by at 95 miles an hour.

  • But someone wasn't yelling "You!" at us, they were yelling "USA!"

  • But we were moving so fast, we only heard the first piece of it.

  • We then came around the last bend,

  • and when we all looked up, the clock simply read "1."

  • We had done it; we were Olympic gold medalists.

  • We were the best in the world.

  • My hands went up immediately, as the moment I had been waiting for my entire life had finally come true.

  • And as our sled slowly came to a stop

  • and I looked into the crowd to see my mom and dad

  • and sister and family and friends crying for me,

  • I knew my decisions had been worth the sacrifice, worth the fear.

  • Two decisions and those five minutes sitting on that couch

  • began to change my life

  • and sticking to them fulfilled my dreams.

  • It was those decisions and standing by them that

  • ultimately gave me the confidence to perform at the Olympic games.

  • What two decisions can you make and stick to

  • that will change your life forever?

  • I challenge you to look at what you're doing in your life

  • and think of what you dream to do.

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A2 TED-Ed olympic sled decision track couch

【TED-Ed】How two decisions led me to Olympic glory - Steve Mesler

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    VoiceTube posted on 2014/01/04
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